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for Grades 5-8

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For Grades 5-8 , week of Apr 12, 2021

1. All-Star Game Moved

When the state of Georgia passed a new law placing greater restrictions on the right to vote, many wondered if — or how — corporations and other public institutions would respond. Major League Baseball wasted little time taking a stand, pulling the yearly All-Star Game out of Georgia and moving it to Denver, Colorado. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a prepared statement. “Fair access to voting continues to have our unwavering support.” The move, which will cost Georgia as much as $100-million in lost revenue, prompted a bitter response from Georgia Republicans, who had pushed the bill through the legislature after the state went Democratic in the last presidential race and in two U.S. Senate elections. President Biden supported the move, while former President Trump called for a boycott of Major League Baseball games. Efforts to restrict voting or make it more difficult are under way in many states beyond Georgia. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about such efforts. Use what you read to write a political column analyzing the efforts, how supporters justify them and what opponents say.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

2. ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’

Among the hardest hit businesses during the coronavirus epidemic have been movie theaters. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing rules shut down or closed most theaters, and people turned to live streaming movies on their TVs or computers. Now, with restrictions and communities returning to normal, movie theaters are poised to make a comeback. And the newly released “Godzilla vs. Kong” has given them a big boost. The movie about a giant ape and a radioactive lizard sold more than $49-million in tickets in its first week in the United States. That total is far smaller than those of past blockbusters — “Avengers: Endgame” had more than $357-million in ticket sales in its first weekend — but it has encouraged movie-makers that better days are ahead. The movie industry has struggled during the coronavirus epidemic. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the challenges it has faced. Use what you read to prepare an oral report on what kind of movies might help the industry recover and get people going back to theaters this summer. In your report, include how theaters can overcome customers’ reservations about gathering in public.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. History Maker

In 18 years as men’s basketball coach at the University of North Carolina, Roy Williams made a lot of history — 903 wins, three national titles and two other appearances in the March Madness Final Four. When he announced he was retiring earlier this month, he paved the way for North Carolina to make even more history. The university has hired Williams’ assistant Hubert Davis to replace him — the first African American to hold the head coaching position in the history of the school. The 50-year-old Davis does not have previous head coaching experience, but he has deep ties to the university. He played for Carolina as a college student, helping the Tar Heels to a pair of ACC tournament titles and a trip to the NCAA Final Four. In his senior year he averaged 21.4 points per game and earned second-team all-conference honors. His uncle, Walter Davis, played for North Carolina from 1974 to 1977 and is considered one of the greatest players ever for the school. In the sports world, people are achieving new milestones in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone who has done this. Use what you read to write a sports column detailing how the person’s groundbreaking achievement can inspire young people and others. Discuss with family, friends or classmates.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

4. ‘Wormnado’

Heavy spring rains often bring hundreds of earthworms to the surface to escape the water. They usually wriggle about as individuals on grass or pavements. In the state of New Jersey, however, a woman out on a morning walk saw hundreds of worms wriggling together on the edge of a sidewalk. What’s more, the worms had formed a spiral shape on the ground that looked like a tornado. When the woman reported her discovery to officials in the city of Hoboken, a city councilor posted it on Facebook and said that it looked like “a tornado of worms.” Soon one reader took it step further, and the term “wormnado” was born. Scientists consulted about the event could not say why the worms had formed a spiral shape in Hoboken. But they noted that other worms have been observed herding in clumps scientifically known as “blobs” (really). All anyone could agree on was the observation of the local city councilor, who noted “This is something I’ve never seen!” Unusual events in nature often are in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such event. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a creative story based on the event. Share with family and friends.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. Transformers Indeed

Since they first came out, Transformers toys have been hugely popular in movies, TV shows, video games, comic books — and of course in playrooms and family rooms. Year after year, kids have been attracted to the figures that can transform into cars, animals, robots and more by shifting a few parts. In the Asian nation of China, a group craftsmen has created a set of Transformers like none that fans have seen before. The larger-than-life action figures are built out of used car parts and other scrap metal. The figures change shapes as they do in the action movies and some are huge. A model of an Optimus Prime Transformer, for example, stands nearly 40 feet tall. “This is so awesome,” one fan noted when a video of the giant Transformers circulated online. “Their childhood dreams have finally come true.” Artists are often inspired by popular culture items and events to create new things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an artist doing this. Then find something from the entertainment or popular culture world that could inspire an artwork of your own. Draw a sketch of your artwork and give it title. Share and discuss with family, friends or classmates.

Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.